PETALING JAYA: A “students’ parliament” is to be formed to give undergraduates a voice in the shaping of national policies and development, Deputy Higher Eduction Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said.
The parliament, he said, would become the main umbrella body for all university students where they can get their concerns heard and their roles and views recognised by the Government.
Saifuddin said students from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) would start the ball rolling with their proposal to form their own students’ parliament with support from USM vice-chancellor Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak.
He said the proposal came from his “teh tarik” meetings with university students two weeks ago which was organised through his own Facebook page.
The idea was first initiated by Prof Dzulkifli in 2004, who had called for the formation of such a body with the “constituencies” comprising all the country’s universities.
Saifuddin said the USM parliament would complement the university’s students representative council where the parliament would include council members, residential college representatives and also members of the university’s more than 100 associations.
He also said that in the USM model, the students themselves decided on the number of parliament seats given to the three major student groups just as is being done by political parties in Parliament.
He said 50% of its members would be from the students council, 30% from the residential college representatives and 20% from the members of university associations.
The university would not interfere in the students’ parliament affairs other than by polishing up the students’ initial proposal, he added.
Saifuddin said he would go to USM on Thursday to personally accept the proposal from the students and Prof Dzulkifli.
“My visit is in line with the Prime Minister’s call towards a “People First” philosophy, or in this case, students first philosophy,” he said.
In GEORGE TOWN, USM deputy vice-chancellor (student affairs) Prof Omar Osman said USM, as an apex university, was expected to lead the way.
“It is a good starting point for the university, which has been given the opportunity to try it out first,” he said when contacted yesterday.
(Quoted from The Star, 4 Jan 2010)